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  • Chase Peterson-Withorn

Meet The World's 259 Newest Billionaires

Forbes found 259 new billionaires over the past year as surging markets have pushed the number of people on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list to a record-high 2,208. The newcomers can thank their lucky products, which range from cryptocurrency to animal style In-N-Out burgers to Hatchimals kids toys.

The richest newcomer of all: Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, at $42.2 billion. She became the new L’Oréal heiress and the wealthiest woman in Europe after her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, died at age 94 in September. The granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder, Bettencourt Meyers had already been running the holding company through which she, her husband and their two sons own L’Oréal stock. She has also written three books, including one about the Greek gods.

In-N-Out Burger heiress Lynsi Snyder joins the billionaire ranks at $1.2 billion after celebrating a birthday to remember. In May Snyder turned 35—and received the final portion of her inheritance, boosting her stake in the beloved West Coast chain to an estimated 97% and making her a billionaire. Her grandparents founded In-N-Out in 1948. Her uncle and father, both previous company presidents, died young; by 2000, Snyder, then just 18, was the last family heir. She took over as president in 2010 and has since expanded the number of In-N-Out locations by nearly one-third to some 330.

More than three quarters of the newcomers made their fortunes the old-fashioned way: as self-made entrepreneurs. This includes Canadians Anton Rabie and Ronnen Harary, childhood friends (and co-CEOs) who put together $10,000 to found the toy company Spin Master in 1994. Their first product, the Earth Buddy, resembled a Chia Pet. Now Spin Master makes remote-control Air Hogs and robotic Hatchimals, plus produces the Nickelodeon Jr. TV show PAW Patrol. The co-CEOs are worth $1.3 billion each.

Also debuting from Canada is Tobi Lütke, who founded Shopify—an ecommerce platform that powers some 600,000 online stores—in 2006. The German native learned to program by age 12 and dropped out of school at 16 for a computer engineering apprenticeship. He immigrated to Canada in 2003 after meeting his now-wife on a snowboarding trip to Whistler and eventually launched Shopify, which he took public in 2015. Shares are up 320% since then, propelling him to a $1.2 billion net worth—though he still bikes to work.

Other notable newcomers include Spain’s Alberto Palatchi ($1.1 billion), who sold 90% of wedding dress company Pronovias, which his father founded in 1922, for an estimated $655 million in October; Switzerland’s Thomas Flohr ($2.3 billion), who founded private aviation company VistaJet; and Americans Niraj Shah and Steve Conine ($1.6 billion each), who cofounded online home goods retailer Wayfair.

In all, Forbes found new billionaires in 35 countries around the globe. China added the most, with 89 newcomers, followed by the U.S. (with 45), India (18) and Germany (13). Telecom mogul Strive Masiyiwa ($1.4 billion) joins the list this year as Zimbabwe’s first-ever billionaire while Sandor Csanyi, whose company is one of the largest financial-services firms in Central and Eastern Europe, is the first to represent Hungary.

These new billionaires have amassed ten-digit fortunes in 18 different industries. Manufacturing leads the way, with 47 newcomers, followed by technology, with 29. The third most popular industry is finance and investments, with 24. That includes fortunes made in traditional financial services—including newcomers Edward Johnson IV and Elizabeth Johnson, the grandchildren of Fidelity Investments founder Edward Johnson II, worth $3.6 billion each—and, for the first time, new moguls making billions from the digital currency craze.

Chris Larsen, the richest man in crypto, joins with a net worth of $4.6 billion. He cofounded Ripple in 2012 to facilitate international payments for banks using blockchain technology. And Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, joins with a fortune estimated to be $1.4 billion, thanks to Binance, the crypto exchange he launched—in July.

Here are few of 259 newcomers to Forbes’ 2018 World’s Billionaires list:

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & family $42.2 bil France L'Oreal Inherited

Alexander Otto $11.8 bil Germany Real estate Inherited

Wu Shaoxun $7 bil China Wine Self-made

Marijke Mars $5.9 bil United States Candy, pet food Inherited

Pamela Mars $5.9 bil United States Candy, pet food Inherited

Valerie Mars $5.9 bil United States Candy, pet food Inherited

Victoria Mars $5.9 bil United States Candy, pet food Inherited

Sofie Kirk Kristiansen $5.4 bil Denmark Lego Inherited

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen $5.4 bil Denmark Lego Inherited

Agnete Kirk Thinggaard $5.4 bil Denmark Lego Inherited

Maria Fernanda Amorim & family $5.1 bil Portugal Energy, investments Inherited

Gabriella Meister & family $5 bil Germany Appliances Inherited

Lim Kok Thay $4.7 bil Malaysia Casinos Inherited

Chris Larsen $4.6 bil United States Cryptocurrency Self-made

Paul Gauselmann & family $4.4 bil Germany Gambling Self-made

Rocco Commisso $4.3 bil United States Telecom Self-made

Fan Hongwei $4.1 bil China Petrochemicals Self-made

Zhang Yiming $4 bil China Software Self-made

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